London - Things may get a little more sci-fi than expected next year, as artificial intelligence, sustainable design and fashion inspired by Netflix’s hit series ‘Stranger Things’ are just a few of the main retail and fashion trends predicted to emerge. With 2017 only two weeks away, FashionUnited shares the top retail and fashion trends likely to define the year according to data from Edited, retail analytics firm.
The rise of artificial intelligence for better customization
The most shrewd retailers of the moment are currently taking full on advantage of the latest advancements in technology and “deep learning” machines, in particular data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) and using it to offer consumers a more targeted and personalized shopping experience. The rise of online shopping and social media platforms like Facebook, now offer retailers a precise window onto what their customers are clicking on, buying and saving to their wishlist, a ‘digital footprint’. And the longer a customer's digital footprint is, the easier it is for retailers to offer them a tailored selection products when they next visit their webstore.
Unsurprisingly, Edited is already using AI software to identify apparel items in photographs or images for its database as part of its services. However, AI is also being used by other retailers as well, such as outdoor apparel company the North Face, who uses it to offer their customers personalized recommendations based on their shopping and browsing history. Fashion retailers are also boosting personalization services on a more product based level as well, promoting monogrammed accessories, handbags or footwear to satisfy consumers unique style preferences.
Embracing sustainable design
The fashion industry, as well as the wider retail sector, has long recognised the need to change their current business models and be more sustainable in all aspects, ranging from products design, to product use, to product disposal and innovation. In particular, fast-fashion and sustainability are widely regarded as being on opposite ends of the spectrum, as retailers found it difficult to meet in the middle. But with a growing consumer demand for more sustainably produce items, 2017 is predicted to be the tipping point for fashion retailers.
Retailers are set to take a closer look at how they can produce higher quality items, which will be designed to last longer and have less of an impact on the planet in order to align with customer’s personal values. Fashion retailers who have already started to produce more sustainable collections include H&M and Zara, with the median price of their collections sitting at 17.99 dollars (14.50 pounds) and 9.90 dollars (7.95 pounds) respectively.
Pushing into lifestyle offering
2016 witnessed the explosion of a number of subcategories, such as “athleisure”, which is predicted to hit 83 billion dollars (66.8 billion pounds) by 2020. The emergence of these categories in turn highlights how a number of retailers are evolving themselves into global lifestyle brands. A number of leading fashion brands launched activewear or athleisure lines this year, including Zara and Kate Spade, or collaborated with celebrities on special collections, like Adidas and Kanye West, which further underlines this shift.
In 2017, Edited foresees fashion retailers pushing further into smaller and niche markets to continue catering to consumers’ shifting needs and changing lifestyles. Retailers are also set to continue expanding their offering in brick and mortar stores and offer extra experiences - think prosecco bars, nail salon or grooming bars - to help keep consumers attention longer in store and offer larger differentiation from potential rivals.
Mobile innovations to capture customer attention
This year saw the emergence of mobile devices as the preferred connection point for internet-based activities - including shopping. As the smartphone rapidly becomes the dominant point of access, retailers are relying more than ever before on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat and the latest applications in virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 degree videos to promote their products.
High street retailer Topshop was one of the first to offer customers the chance to experience a 360 degree viewing of their fashion week show, while brands like Diesel have collaborated with technology firms to create unique virtual reality experiences. So whether it’s offering customers a 360 degree experience, or using virtual reality to see how a certain garment fits on your body, mobile innovations are set to provide a unique immersion experience to the consumer.
A throwback to the 1980’s one of the key fashion trends for 2017
‘Stranger Things’ made waves when it aired on Netflix this earlier year and its influence on the fashion sector is only set to grow for 2017 according to Emily Bezzant, Head Analyst at Edited. The second-series of this hit show is set to release mid-2017, but it’s fashion vibes will have a big impact on Spring 2017 - think power suits and slouchy trousers for office appropriate wear to off-the shoulder tops and dress and over the top ruffles on everything. Micro-trends inspired by this iconic decade in fashion will also made a big comeback, as customized looks such as embroidered and appliquéd denim will be big, in addition to ‘vintage’ band tees, statement sleeves and stirrup trousers.
Key 2017 denim shape: Mom
2017 will also heralded the solid return of the mom jean. Characterized by the tapered legs, mom jeans is a key style that has already witnessed rapid growth during the last two quarters of 2016. The retro shape has enjoyed renewed customer interest, proven by the high replenishment rates even at low discounts, according to Edited data. In 2017 the Mom jeans will continue to be popular in both the lower-end and high-end of the fashion spectrum. For example, in the luxury market, the tapered legs style was a hit on the Spring/Summer 2017 catwalks. This slightly looser and higher-waist style is part of the wider 1980’s fashion influence and the Mom jeans are set to become a major part of all denim assortments.
Homepage photo: Netflix
Photo 1: Devices, Pexels
Photo 2: Sustainable dress, Courtesy of H&M
Photo 3: Courtesy of Kanye West/Adidas
Photo 4: Tommy Hilfiger VR store experience, courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger
Photo 5: Barbara and Nancy from 'Stranger Things', courtesy of Netflix
Photo 6: Mom jeans, Pexels